American Sign Language – The Benefits of Learning ASL

American Sign Language – The Benefits of Learning ASL

American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary non-written language of Deaf people in the U.S. and many of Western Canada. ASL is an expressive and non-syntactic verbal language conveyed by facial movement and gestures with the hands and face. Data shows that over 33 million Americans use ASL to communicate with each other and a wide range of friends, family, and professionals. Many colleges and universities offer ASL courses and programs. They are provided primarily to individuals who wish to learn or improve their communication skills to serve their communities better and be of greater value in their personal, professional, and social lives.

 

There are many reasons that one would want to learn ASL. Some individuals have learned the language by observing spoken speech in Sign Language, while others have learned it from receiving hand signals from a caregiver or a book of signs. Many people take American Sign Language classes to become certified CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistant). Others sign up for audiotapes and videos of ASL expressions and gestures to memorize. Several people learn American Sign Language simply because they love the language and wish to improve their communication skills.

 

The National Association of Special Education Programs (NASEP) estimates that approximately 1.6 million Americans communicate in ASL. Of those individuals, about half are certified to administer American Sign Language at home or in a school/community setting. Sign language is becoming more popular throughout the United States as people learn the language or take ASL classes for personal or community benefit. There are many benefits to learning ASL:

 

One of the most obvious benefits of learning American Sign Language is that it is a hands-on skill that anyone can perform with any level of fluency. Compared to other common languages such as English and Spanish, learning American Sign Language has a higher retention rate because almost anyone can perform it. Individuals of all ages and from all walks of life can learn how to sign. Sign language users do not necessarily speak but rather make facial expressions, emotions, and body motions that look like words or sentences. Sign language users can communicate verbally with each other using only hand motions.

 

In addition to ASL visual elements, learners also benefit from speaking the language. Many studies show that reading books containing written speech improves reading comprehension skills, similarly, achieved by reading audiobooks. However, in today’s world, more individuals are reading text on the Internet. Because of this, many individuals are now able to perform “word by word” communication via the computer. Learning American Sign Language provides individuals the ability to read and understand spoken languages and allows them to communicate on a deeper level that only the spoken language can provide.

 

One of the main reasons people begin learning ASL is that they plan to take an American Sign Language exam, such as training from the American deaf exposure program. The information courses in ASL include a fundamental understanding of the language, posture statements, and vocabulary exercises. The position statement is essential in spoken languages, and it instructs individuals on how to position themselves physically to hold a conversation in an everyday setting. A posture statement is also helpful because it demonstrates how people who speak ASL stand in relation to one another, which is vital for an American Sign Language test.

How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

When developing a new website, your first consideration should be the website design. A good website design covers the functional as well as aesthetic aspects of a site. While there are many options for designing a website, choosing the right one is crucial to ensuring that your customers enjoy your website from the first time they see it.

A website design that offers a clean layout and consistent content will help customers maintain a positive user experience. In addition, a clean design makes it easier to follow your site’s progress and promotes the look of professionalism while appealing to the senses. A clean design also allows you to add additional functionality such as shopping carts and news feeds.

Responsive websites are gaining in popularity because they provide the best overall value proposition. By offering an expandable and versatile design that adjusts itself to the screen size of every user, you are offering a solution to two of the biggest frustrations of web admins today: namely, not enough space for content and too much space for advertising. Therefore, when choosing your website design partner, it is crucial to ensure that they offer your ideal content management solutions, including fully integrated SEO and fully-featured responsive web design and development. Your partner should be able to incorporate both SEO and responsive design seamlessly into your website design and development solution.

Another excellent website design tip is to choose a partner that offers full integration with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Social media has exploded in popularity over the past few years and is now one of the most popular ways to reach potential customers. In addition, today’s social media platforms have millions of users globally. By having a social media interface integrate into your website’s design and development, you can significantly increase your exposure to prospective customers while at the same time optimizing your social media pages for search engines. Furthermore, by offering links to your social media pages on your website’s design and development pages, you can improve your overall search engine rankings and get great returns on investment.

The latest trends are focused on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Smartphones have opened up a whole new world of connectivity and mobility, allowing users to access websites via their cellular phones wherever they may go. With this in mind, you should make every effort to ensure that your websites are accessible on these devices through a fully integrated or fully responsive web design and development. By doing so, you will give your current customers better usability and a more extensive base from which to explore your business and establish a positive brand presence.

When it comes to brands and promoting your products or services, social media is fast becoming the wave of the future. With the vast reach of social media, businesses can connect with their consumers in a completely natural way, thereby allowing them to form a unique bond. However, creating an online brand does not end at publishing blogs, uploading pictures, and sharing social media sites. The next step is to engage your audience and build a strong relationship through social media networking. To ensure that your website design and development optimize for social media, you should hire a professional SEO company to ensure that your brand stands out through a well-designed website design and development.

Microsoft Mesh – Cross Platform Connectivity For Mobile Enterprise

Microsoft Mesh – Cross Platform Connectivity For Mobile Enterprise

Microsoft Mesh is a new service that allows your enterprise and your social media to go far together, allowing users and customers to interconnect using a web-enabled mesh. This new internet-based service combines the advantages of social networking and collaboration together with business tools like enterprise mobility management, collaboration, and task management for a really multi-dimensional experience on the internet. Microsoft Mesh also enables groups to work together not just inside the scope of a project but also when creating tasks shared. It follows that group real-time and productivity tasks can be handled in exactly the same fashion across multiple network devices.

Multi-user capabilities extend beyond networking. Microsoft Mesh offers rich editing and publishing experiences for e-commerce, publishing, collaboration, and publishing of all documents in addition to data. A multi-user network can include anywhere from 1 individual to several hundred consumers based on the size of your network. Since Microsoft Mesh is cross platform and cross apparatus capable, it delivers a special opportunity to leverage the capabilities of numerous devices and browsers across your corporate network without any additional investments in software or connection.

For companies looking for a new way to connect with their clients and strengthen their business ties, the usage of Microsoft Mesh is a clear way for moving your company ahead. Employing this cross-platform social network you can achieve a highly targeted audience over several devices while at the exact same time increasing your revenue. The price and complexity of integrating this system in your company should be no problem at all, letting you construct your organization and reach your goals easily. Mesh is a powerful tool and needs to be leveraged for the current generation of mobile computing.

Microsoft Teams recognized as a Leader in Gartner UCaaS and Meetings Solutions Magic Quadrants

Microsoft Teams recognized as a Leader in Gartner UCaaS and Meetings Solutions Magic Quadrants

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Microsoft Teams has become the new way to work for over 115 million daily users who come together every day to meet, call, chat, and collaborate. Today, we are honored to be recognized by Gartner as a Leader for both Meeting Solutions and Unified Communications as a Service in their latest Magic Quadrants. Microsoft was…

The post Microsoft Teams recognized as a Leader in Gartner UCaaS and Meetings Solutions Magic Quadrants appeared first on Microsoft 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Microsoft Teams recognized as a Leader in Gartner UCaaS and Meetings Solutions Magic Quadrants

For one week only: 25 percent off Microsoft 365 Business Premium for small and medium-sized businesses

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

We recognize that 2020 has been a challenging year for small businesses, and we are here to help. In celebration of Small Business Saturday, we are offering small and medium-sized businesses in the United States a 25 percent discount on up to 25 seats of Microsoft 365 Business Premium so they can chat, call, host…

The post For one week only: 25 percent off Microsoft 365 Business Premium for small and medium-sized businesses appeared first on Microsoft 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Bringing personal features in Microsoft Teams to desktop and web—now available in preview

Bringing personal features in Microsoft Teams to desktop and web—now available in preview

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Bringing personal features in Microsoft Teams to desktop and web—now available in preview

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s become a challenge for many of us to balance the various aspects of our lives. Whether it’s our jobs, homeschooling our kids, or coordinating virtual meetups with friends, managing all of this on a daily basis can get stressful. As a result, tools that help us stay on track and free up time for recharging have become more and more critical. Ever since we expanded Microsoft Teams beyond work and school and announced the preview of personal features in the Teams mobile app, I have found it helpful to organize and plan activities in my day-to-day life. From using tasks to track my grocery shopping list to scheduling virtual birthday celebrations, Teams has become my all-in-one hub for organizing my personal life.

Today, we are excited to announce the preview of more new personal features in Teams that will make it even easier to manage and plan your days. To begin with, you can now add your personal account in the Teams desktop or web app to chat with or call friends and family. With group chat and video calling now available on both desktop and mobile, connecting and organizing with loved ones will be easier than ever before, especially with holidays around the corner. We are also adding new features in preview in the Teams mobile app, such as the ability to chat with friends or family who don’t have Teams on their phones1, location alerts that let you know when someone leaves or arrives at designated locations2, and more.

Chat and call friends and family—right from your desktop

Since most people started working from home, the time we spend on our computers has risen dramatically. If you use your computer to send work emails and your phone to chat with friends and family, it can become difficult to keep track of incoming messages across all your devices. We want to make it easier for you to stay on top of your important communications—across your work and personal life—without having to constantly switch between devices. Now, you can add your personal account in the Teams desktop or web app and sync all your chats to your computer so you can carry on conversations on whatever device you prefer. Plus, you can use the Teams desktop or web app to call friends and family, even if they don’t have Teams installed, making it easier to connect with loved ones during the holidays. Your work and personal accounts open in different windows or browser tabs on your computer, making it easy to keep them separate.

The following features are now available in preview in the Teams desktop and web apps, with more features coming soon:

  • Start a personal chat or create a group chat with up to 250 people.
  • Seamlessly sync your existing chats from your phone to your computer and carry-on conversations on the device of your choice.
  • Talk all day for free with friends and family via video or audio calls.3
  • Share video meeting invites with anyone, even if they don’t have Teams, and see up to 49 of your friends and loved ones in one frame in Gallery view or Together mode.
  • Upload and share photos and videos from your computer in any personal or group chat.

To start using personal features in Teams on your computer, follow these steps:

  • If you are new to Teams, download the Teams desktop app and sign in with a personal Microsoft account or create a new one to get started.
  • If you currently use the Teams desktop app at work, click on your profile picture on the top-right corner and select ‘Add personal account’. Upon successful login, Teams will launch a new window containing your personal chats and groups so it’s easy to switch between your work and personal accounts.
    • Note: We are slowly rolling out the option to add a personal account to existing commercial users. So, if you don’t see this option to add your personal account, you may have to wait until your app is updated or for your IT admin to enable it within your organization.
  • If you want to use the personal features in Teams in your web browser, go to this link and sign in or create a new personal Microsoft account to get started.

While you can use the Teams desktop and web apps to chat with or call friends and family, we are working on bringing all the other personal features available in the Teams mobile app to desktop and web soon.

Adding more features in preview on the Teams mobile app

We are also introducing new features in preview in the Microsoft Teams mobile app to make it easier to stay connected with loved ones.

Chat with people in Teams, even if they are not using the app

When starting a group chat with your friends or family, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will miss your chats if they don’t have Teams. This is why we are previewing a new feature on our Teams iOS and Android apps that allows you to chat with contacts who don’t have Teams installed on their phones. Simply type a contact’s name or phone number to add them to a group chat and, if they are not on Teams, they can receive and send replies to the group via SMS, keeping the conversation flowing1. SMS participants will also get a link to download the Teams app on their phone making it easy to get started on Teams and take full advantage of rich media messaging and chat via GIFs, images, or videos.

This feature is available in preview for users in the US and Canada. You can learn more about this feature here.

Get notified when loved ones leave or arrive at a location

As we all begin to responsibly step out of our homes, we are releasing new location features in preview that will make it easier for your loved ones to receive updates about your physical whereabouts. Starting today, you can allow your loved ones to receive automatic alerts whenever you leave or arrive at a designated location2. So, if you are stepping out of your home on a daily basis, you can choose to let your family get automatic departure or arrival alerts so that they know when you will be back home.

In addition to these, we are also introducing the following new mobile features:

  • Add group events from your chats to your device’s calendar.
  • Get task and location updates in your activity feed.
  • Add a photo to your personal Safe.

The new features have started to roll out in preview on the Teams mobile app and will be fully rolled out in the coming weeks. To get started, download the Teams mobile app from the iOS or Android app store.

We are excited about continuing to preview more features in Teams that make it easier for you to organize and manage your personal life. While today is another step in that direction, we are continuing our efforts to bring even more features to you across all devices as we work towards making these features generally available. As always, we value your inputs during this journey, and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.